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After playing the slow burn for so long, Black Hammer: Age of Doom #3 makes some huge moves for the series and sets up an epic confrontation.

Lucy and Jack Sabbath try to make their way back home, and meet some strangely familiar faces along the way. Meanwhile, weird things are happening back on the farm. What else is new?

When Age of Doom #1 came out, I said this series was going to let the art team off their leashes, and this issue proves me right. Jeff Lemire is sending us out into this weird multiverse, but Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart, and Todd Klein are our tour guides. Their respective art, colors, and letters give each world Lucy and Jack visit its own distinct vibe while maintaining a creepy tone. That’s been this series’ shining achievement: its ability to keep a consistently creepy tone whether the scene is at a kitchen table or Hell itself.

Black Hammer Age of Doom 3 review

We always knew that Black Hammer was Lemire’s ode to superhero comics, but Age of Doom shows that it’s truly an ode to comics in general. The worlds that we see in this issue are not-so-subtle homages to classic comics series, ones that changed the way the world thought about comics. And maybe it’s just a coincidence, but Vertigo Comics seems to be a common thread through these worlds. Either way, this trip through the comicsverse opens our eyes to what Black Hammer as a series can be.

This series has been a slow burn from the start, and a great one at that. Which is probably why the things that happen in this issue feel so monumental, even though they’re not truly that big at all. But just the fact that we’re learning anything about this mystery is exciting! Lemire continues to prove himself a master storyteller, pacing his tale in a way that makes important moments big or small slap you in the face and then punch you in the gut for good measure.

Black Hammer: Age of Doom #3 is definitely more action-driven than character-driven, a flip on the series’ usual M.O. Next issue is sure to be a monumental one, so if you’re not caught up on the series, make sure to be before next month!